Real Answers from Real Pilots

Entering at an older age

I’m age 50, have a private rating since 2005 and considering continuing on to become a commercial pilot. I realize I wont progress through the system to fully accomplish what potential an aviation career can provide but is this something worth pursuing at this age?

Robert,

This is a very common question but only you can decide if it’s worth pursuing? Assuming you start training now it’ll take you approx. 2yrs to get the rest of your required licenses and ratings so you’ll be 52 entering a Regional (which you can easily do). Mandatory retirement is 65 so that gives you a 13yr career. 2-4yrs for upgrade, now you’re about 55 with 10yrs left. Chances are you’re not going to a Major but you could spend about 10yrs as a Regional Capt making close to 6 figures flying a really nice jet around the country. If that sounds good to you it’s worth it. If your goal is to fly a 787 to Tokyo and if you can’t there’s no point then it’s not. Your call?

Adam

Adam,
I appreciate the insight. How does flying private aircraft or business jets fit into the plan? Is it beneficial to consider that route now or as an option after 65?
Thanks,Rob

Robert,

Flying private or corporate is always an option. Keep in mind there are far fewer of those jobs and due to insurance requirements they generally don’t/can’t hire low time pilots so the jobs are often hard to come by. Nothing wrong with doing some investigating.

Adam

Adam,

One more question for now. How about flying cargo such as for Fedex or UPS? Do you have any information/perspective on opportunities or (lack of) for older pilots and are the challenges the same as transporting passengers?

Thanks much,
Robert

Robert,

When people think of cargo for some reason they have this perception that it’s somehow at a lower level than the other Majors around the World. Fact is FedEx and UPS are actually 2 of the top Major airlines anywhere. Their pilots are paid exceptionally well and these positions are well sought after and VERY difficult to land. Most of their pilots are high time and actually come from other Majors. I would not get my hopes up.

Adam